View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!Introducing SlideShare for AndroidExplore all your favorite topics in the SlideShare appGet the SlideShare app to Save for Later — even offline
View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new Android app!View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!
Page 1 of 12Developed by:
Adults as Learners
After reading this information sheet, you should be able to:
1. describe adults as learners;
2. explain what motivates the adult learner; and
3. recognize barriers to adult learning
Part of being an effective trainer involves understanding how adults
learn best. Compared to children, adults have special needs and
requirements as learners. Adults come to our classes with a variety and
range of experiences, both in terms of their working life and educational
backgrounds. This impacts how and why they participate in learning. While
each student has individual learning needs, there are some characteristics
that are common to adult learners. By understanding these characteristics,
trainers will enhance their relationship with their trainees as well as be able
to assist them as they apply new knowledge, skill, and attitudes.
Characteristics of Adults as Learners
Adults are autonomous and self-directed. Although adults need
some structure, they resist being told what to do. They need to be free to
direct themselves. As trainers, we must actively involve adult participants in
the learning process and serve as facilitators for their learning. We guide our
trainees to their own knowledge rather than supplying them with facts.
Adult learning encourages us to collaborate with our trainees about the pace
and the content of the training curriculum. We can get their perspectives
about what topics to cover and which projects or assignments they’d want to
pursue. To show our trainees what’s in it for them, we focus on the essential
knowledge that learners need to function effectively. Give them the
resources – web links, white papers, publications – to pursue deeper
knowledge if they’re so inclined.
Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and
knowledge that may include work-related activities, family
responsibilities, and previous education. Adults learn by connecting new
information with what they already know. Information that does not mesh
with any of the learner’s previous knowledge or experience is assimilated
very slowly. Because participants come with different backgrounds, the
trainer must discover what the participants know and build on that
knowledge. Some techniques that can help us understand our audience’s
Page 2 of 12Developed by:
knowledge and experience base include: pretests; icebreakers; participant
profiles; and soliciting pre-course information. At the start of the training
session, we begin by telling learners what the objectives are. This helps
learners organize their thoughts and puts them in a better position to
understand why it’s important to learn. Second, remind learners of what
they already know. This puts new information into perspective and provides
―hooks‖ for attaching this material to their existing knowledge framework.
In the event this new knowledge is in direct opposition to what the learner
already knows or believes, this conflict must be addressed immediately.
Experience is a rich source of adult learning. We can leverage the different
experiences for a richer learning experience through facilitative discussions,
case studies, role plays, simulations and the like. We should use our adult
learners as resources for ourselves and for the other participants.
Adults are goal oriented. Upon enrolling in a course, adults usually
know what goal they want to attain. They, therefore, appreciate a training
program that is organized and has clearly defined elements. As trainers, we
must ensure that learning objectives are presented. We need to show our
trainees that this training is beneficial to them and that it will help them
attain their goals. We must set the stage for their success.
Adults are relevancy-oriented. They must see a reason for learning
something. Learning has to be applicable to their work or other
responsibilities to be of value to them. We need to show them why they need
to learn what we’re teaching, and listen to them when they say they don’t
understand why it’s important. It can make the difference between success
and failure in gaining our trainees’ attention. To do this, we can ask
describe a typical problem that our trainees encounter in their work that the
training will solve. Another way is to ask the learners themselves how they
think they can apply the new information. If the training session we’re
conducting is introducing a change in the way our trainees perform their
job, we must help them understand why this change is for the betterment of
Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful
to them in their work. They may not be interested in knowledge for its own
sake. They are more interested in learning that can be put to use
immediately, is concrete, practical, and self-benefitting. We must tell our
trainees explicitly how the lesson will be useful to them on the job. The
presentation of content should be oriented toward direct applications. So,
why is it that some trainers feel a need to cram all the content they can into
a course? This very practice inhibits learning. Content should directly align
with specific learning objectives; other content should not be included.
Page 3 of 12Developed by:
As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect. Every
participant is unique and learns differently. Each brings different
backgrounds, perspectives, and biases to the learning experience. We must
acknowledge the wealth of experiences that our adult participants bring to
the classroom. Questions and comments should be treated with respect. All
contributions should be acknowledged. Participants should be treated as
equals in experience and knowledge and allowed to voice their opinions
freely in class.
In a nutshell, here are the difference between children and adults as
Broader base of experience more limited experience
learning is often voluntary or self-
learning is more often compulsory
Learning can be self-directed learning is usually teacher-directed
limited time for attending classes and
school activities consume most time
learning is often motivated by life
responsibilities and changes
learning typically limited to
need for immediate application
much learning have deferred
view teacher as having a reciprocal
relationship with students
view teacher as having superior
knowledge and authority
may have a negative self concept more likely to expect success
may have established ideas, attitudes
and behaviors which are difficult to
less likely to have set ideas;
attitudes and behaviors; more
often intimidated by and restraint to
more accustomed to taking tests
extensive speaking vocabulary
limited vocabulary which is
increased through education
physiological factors (visual, audio,
health) may influence learning
physiological factors are less likely
to influence learning
Page 4 of 12Developed by:
Motivating the Adult Learner
Trainers must be aware of the possible motivations behind their
trainees' participation in the program to cultivate cooperation on the part of
the trainees not merely to accept training but to become actively involved in
the process. Actively committed and engaged learners will not only put forth
the effort needed to master material, but will work with the trainer in
defining and achieving learning goals. It is important that we make our
trainees realize that they are the chief beneficiaries of training.
At least six factors serve as sources of motivation for adult learning:
1. Social Relationships - Training is a good way to meet like-minded
people; to make new friends or acquaintances and to network.
2. External Expectations - Most adult learners fall under this category
because they are learning in order to fulfill the expectations of
someone with formal authority, such as a supervisor; or to fulfill a
requirement for job or status.
3. Social Welfare - Some learners are more altruistic and choose to
learn to improve their ability to serve the community.
4. Personal Advancement - Many adult learners attend training to
achieve promotions or higher salary in a job and stay abreast of
5. Escape/Stimulation - Adult learners make seek relief from boredom,
or a break in the routine of home or work.
6. Cognitive Interest - Some adult learners seek additional training
simply for the sake of learning; to satisfy an inquiring mind. Some
people are inquisitive and curious enough about something that they
desire to simply know more about it for no other reason than to
simply learn more.
We also need to realize that these sources of motivation can also be a
barrier against participating in learning. Aside from this, adults have many
responsibilities that they must balance against the demands of learning
Families, careers, social commitments
Lack of time
Lack of money
Page 5 of 12Developed by:
Lack of child care
Lack of interest
The best way to motivate adult learners is simply to enhance their
reasons for enrolling and decrease the barriers. Trainers must learn why
their students are enrolled (the motivators); they have to discover what is
keeping them from learning. Then the trainers must plan their motivating
strategies. We can keep our trainees engaged by providing what they’d like
to get out of the training program. We:
provide them opportunities to network,
show them how the course will help them secure a promotion,
share knowledge that will improve their ability to serve their
make the time spent in training worth their while by showing them
how this applies to their situation
provide positive reinforcement to increase self-esteem
Page 6 of 12Developed by:
True or False:
1. Sources of motivation can also be a barrier against participating in
2. In learning, adults view teacher as having superior knowledge and
3. Adults are more accustomed in taking tests.
4. In class, children may have established ideas, attitudes and
behaviors which are difficult to change.
5. Physiological factors (visual, audio, health) are more likely to
influence children than adults in learning.
Page 7 of 12Developed by:
Page 8 of 12Developed by:
Fundamental Learning Approaches: Instructor-Centered vs.
After reading this information sheet, you should be able to:
1. Define Pedagogy and Andragogy
2. Explain the difference between pedagogy and Andragogy
3. Identify what learning approach to utilize when running a class.
Adult learners are unique in the sense that they come with different
backgrounds and experiences. Because of the diverse backgrounds of the
learners in our classroom, it is important to vary the approach to teaching
One basic dichotomy related to approaches is that of pedagogy (or
instructor centered learning) and andragogy (or student centered learning).
Pedagogy is characterized by a teacher-centered approach to learning.
The instructor presents a concept which is of interest to potential learners.
Common methods of instruction include lectures, audiovisual materials and
suggested readings. It is very similar to what is called deductive teaching.
Deductive teaching (also known as direct instruction) is based on the
idea that a highly structured presentation of content creates optimal
learning for trainees. The trainer presents a concept by first defining it and
then providing examples. Students are given opportunities to practice with
the trainer’s guidance and feedback until they achieve concept mastery.
During application or lab work, the learners know the outcome of the
procedure before it is completed.
Andragogy, on the other hand, is student-centered. It emphasizes an
informal, collaborative learning environment in which instructor and learner
work together for learning to happen. An actual experience confronts a
learner. The instructor gathers information about the experience through
reflection and discussion.
Inductive teaching (also known as discovery teaching or inquiry
teaching) is based on the claim that knowledge is built primarily from a
Page 9 of 12Developed by:
learner’s experiences with the subject matter. The instructor begins by
exposing students to a concrete instance of a concept. Then learners are
encouraged to observe patterns, raise questions or make generalizations
from their observations. The trainer’s role is to create opportunities and the
context in which students can successfully make the appropriate
generalizations, and to guide the trainees as necessary.
Common methods of instruction include group discussions, workshops and
Below is a table of the differences of the two learning approaches:
About: Pedagogical Andragogical
Concept of Learner Dependent Personality Increasingly Self-directed
Role of Learner's
To be built on more than used as
A rich resource for learning by
self and others
Readiness to Learn
Uniform by age-level and
Develops from life tasks and
Orientation to Learning Subject-centered Task or problem-centered
By external rewards and
By internal incentives,
Elements Pedagogical Andragogical
Tense, low trust, formal, cold,
Relaxed, trusting, mutually
Planning Primarily by the instructor
Mutually by learners and
Diagnosis for needs Primarily by the instructor By mutual assessment
Setting of Objectives Primarily by the instructor By mutual assessment
Designing Learning Plans
Instructor's content plans; Course
Syllabus; Logical Sequence
learning Contracts; Learning
Projects; Sequenced by
Transmittal Techniques; Assigned
Inquiry Projects; Independent
Page 10 of
By Instructor; Norm-referenced
(on a curve); with grades
By learner collected evidence
validated by peers, facilitators,
Which is the better approach?
Malcolm Knowles, the “father of andragogy” in the United States,
maintains that the choice of pedagogy versus andragogy is situational,
depending on subject matter and learner characteristics. Pedagogical
approaches are often needed when delivering new material like learning new
software. If trainees have little or no knowledge of the subject matter, how
can they construct knowledge from nothing? We must provide some
foundation to spark discussion and inquiry. We can follow an andragogical
approach if the trainees’ current knowledge and experiences allow them to
contribute to the discussion. For example, we can teach sales techniques by
asking our participants about their interactions with salespeople when they
go shopping. As facilitators, we help them develop new insights, make
generalizations, and test these through application.
Page 11 of
Provide the best answer to the questions below:
1. This is based on the idea that a highly structured presentation of
content creates optimal learning for trainees.
2. It emphasizes an informal, collaborative learning environment in
which instructor and learner work together for learning to happen.
3. This is characterized by a teacher-centered approach to learning. The
instructor presents a concept which is of interest to potential learners.
4. This is based on the claim that knowledge is built primarily from a
learner’s experiences with the subject matter.
From the descriptions below, select the best answer from the following
1. Readiness to learn develops from life tasks and problems.
2. Evaluation is done by the Instructor. It is norm-referenced and a
grade is always provided.
3. Learner’s experiences are considered to be a rich resource for learning
by self and others.
4. The orientation to learning is subject-centered.
5. There is a climate of minimum trust in a class.
Page 12 of
1. Deductive Teaching
4. Inductive Teaching